Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Harbor Report: Stretching those sea legs again

The Santa Cruz 50 Horizon finishing the 2011Trans Pac race to Hawaii.
By Len Bose
March 13, 2015 | 7:50 p.m.

It's time for me to go to sea again.
Over the last eight months, I have been managing a three-boat racing program that includes the Santa Cruz 50 Horizon, J 109 Linstar and my Harbor 20 Only Child. Most of our team's focus this year has been on Horizon with the recent Newport Harbor Yacht Club's Islands Race, which took us around Catalina and San Clemente islands and finished in San Diego.
On March 21, we will start the NHYC Cabo race, which starts in Newport Beach and finishes in Cabo San Lucas. These two races are in preparation for the Trans Pac Race to Hawaii starting July 16.
The logistics of preparing for these events, let alone getting the boat ready, is overwhelming. Fortunately, our skipper, Jon Shampain on Horizon, takes the load of getting the boat ready. Boat preparation and provisioning is a crucial part of the overall success of a sailing program.
Shampain has kept on top of Horizon's maintenance schedule over the last eight years. This year, we updated our electronics, plumbing and safety equipment and continued on our sails rotation plan. While I worked on the transfer of all of our FCC communication licensing, I am not going to lie — Sue West from the Gordon West Radio School helped me with all of these licenses.
Other tasks included race registration, hotel and flight reservation, customs, permits, safety gear updates and crew apparel. Why these few tasks took me so much time, I have no idea, and don't get me started on what I had to do to obtain a Mexican Temporary Import Permit (TIP). If you find yourself needing a TIP before this year's Ensenada race and are down to the wire, you can contact me, and I will tell you how I accomplished this task. All this said, we are ready for Cabo, and I am already working on Trans Pac.
Back to the fun part of all this: racing downwind on arguably the best boat for the job. Horizon sailed well in the Islands Race, winning a second-place finish in class and 11th overall. At the start of the race, the weather forecast indicated that we would be able to finish, although we would have to work hard to make it to the finish line before the wind shut off.
Our approach to Catalina was picturesque. The island was covered in dark green foliage, and the crisp winter air allowed us to see Santa Barbara Island and San Clemente Island as we rounded the west end of Catalina and headed toward San Clemente Island.
Under a very bright full moon, the wind had picked up to 24 knots while we ran down swell as we rounded San Clemente. The moon would hide behind the spinnaker as we maneuvered Horizon through the waves.
As we approached San Diego, the winter breeze began to dissipate while the larger boats were finishing. Unfortunately for us, the breeze filled in from the north, and we had a long beat upwind to the finish. This allowed the bigger boats to correct out over us on our handicapped times, but hey, that's yacht racing.
With the thought that it is bad luck to win the race before the big races, we are very happy with our results, and our mojo bag is full.
Rio100 "Thats a lot of sandwiches"

My picks for this year's Cabo San Lucas race are as follows: In the big boat class — and I mean big boat — we will see the 100-foot Rio100 being sailed by Newport Beach resident Manoush Moshayedi for the first time on this coast, racing against the 74-foot Wizard, owned by David Askew, Tom Holthus's 65' Bad Pak and Frank Slootman's 63-foot Invisible Hand. These four boats will be battling it out for the first monohull to finish, with the advantage going to the largest of the four, Rio100. Because the forecast appears to be light I will have to go with Rio100 to correct out for class and overall win.
Three large multihull boats will be on this year's race course, with the fastest of the fleet being the Mighty Meloe. Next, we will see the 70-foot class, which is always too close to call, with boats like Brack Duker's Holua, Roy Disney's Pyewacket and James McDowell's Grand Illusion being the favorites.
If I had to pick one of these, I would go with Grand Illusion, whose seasoned crew makes very few mistakes on the racing course.

The class breaks have not been posted yet. Two very strong contenders are Craig Reynolds' TP 52 Bolt and Bob Pethick Rogers' 46 Bretwalda 3. In the Santa Cruz 50 and 52 class, the favorite is Team Linstar aboard Horizon, which will be challenged by three other Santa Cruz 50s and two Santa Cruz 52s.
In the PHRF class, if nothing changes before the start, the easy winner will be the J 125 Timeshaver sailed by Viggo Torbensen. This boat is always difficult to beat, no matter what class it ends up in. Without it in PHRF, the next favorite would be Ross Pearlman's Jeanneau 52 Between the Sheets.
To follow the race, go to and look under "Tracking," or follow Santa Cruz 50 + Horizon on our Facebook page.
Wish us a strong downwind breeze and following swell.
Sea ya.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

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